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Kurt Brunner:

Representation of glaciers on old maps of the Alps

Cartographica Helvetica 2 (1990) 9–19


On two maps dating back to 1540, glaciers had been indicated by lettering: on the map of Switzerland by Aegidius Tschudi and on the Carta Marina of North Europe by Olaus Magnus. This had certainly been done after a glacial advance in the thirties of the 16th century. The general advance of glaciers around 1600 gave reason for indicating them on maps not only by name but also by a map drawing. On the Islandia map in the Additamentum of the Theatrum orbis Terrarum, eight Icelandic glaciers are set off by white round caps. On the Tyrolia map by Warmund Ygl, a huge ice-cap interspersed with crevasses shows the glaciation of the Ötztal and Stubai Alps.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, some further maps had been drawn up, mainly in Switzerland, which refer to glaciers by lettering or drawing. In 1774 the map series Atlas Tyrolensis by Peter Anich and Blasius Hueber indicates the glaciation in a planimetric representation with its presumably actual dimensions.

Towards the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, the first map series of the Alpine countries had been developed. These map series represent the glaciers as a whole, but in an altogether sixteen different manners.

Bibliographic Note:

  • Edited version of: Gletscherdarstellungen in topographischen Karten und Veduten. In: International Yearbook of Cartography 29 (1989) pp. 55–79.

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